The Magic of Enjoyable Movement – Hooping!

by Kimber Simpkins

When I picked up my first hula hoop as an adult (more than ten years ago), I was sure it was broken. It wouldn’t stay up around my hips the way the video showed it was designed to. False advertising. A lemon.

I remembered how easy it was to do as a kid. Not anymore.

It was frustrating, but I kept trying. Every day I went out into the backyard and spent just three minutes spinning the hoop around my middle and seeing what happened.

I felt silly. Ridiculous really.

My body and the hoop were in a circular argument about who was in charge. But one day it magically stayed there for a whole 30 seconds… before dropping back to my feet.

It was exhilarating!

Slowly, the hoop and I came to an understanding where it agreed to hang out around my waist for as long as I asked it to. Most of the time.
Since that day, my hoop has become a beloved friend, and one of my body’s favorite forms of movement.

It didn’t happen overnight.

In fact, when people ask me where my hula hoop skills come from, I tell them about my hooping teacher from many years ago, who taught me all kinds of fun ways to play with the hoop.

Now I want to bring that spirit of fun and play to you and your body.

Whatever age you are, whatever success (or otherwise) you’ve had with a hoop–even if you’re sure you can’t do it–I can help you find a new way to move your body that’s energizing, wonderful exercise, and is good for your body, mind, and heart. We’ll integrate yoga and dharma into the practice as well, helping you find your center and work through any “I can’t”s to explore a new way to enjoy your aliveness.

Starting next month I’m teaching a six week hooping series called “Love Your Hoop” at Namaste Berkeley. It’s Tuesday evenings from 7 to 8:45 pm from Aug 23 – Oct 4 (no class Sept 6). Space is limited to 12 people, so sign up soon. Hoops will be provided! Find out more and sign up here.

With love to you and your body, Kimber

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Kimber Simpkins: The wisdom of Buddhist and Tantric philosophy, the insights of physics and psychology, storytelling, and music continuously resonate through Kimber’s teaching and the experience of her students on the mat. She comes from a long line of lay preachers, teachers, singers, and healers and is happy to be walking a path that blends all of these roles. Kimber is the author of the Award-winning memoir Full: How one woman found yoga, eased her inner hunger, and started loving herself, and 52 Ways to Love your Body.

 

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Style Drishti: The Waning and Waxing

Unbeknownst to me at the time of my choosing, the moon has guided me this week, rising slowly and shining brilliantly over our style feature. This outfit makes me want to meditate with the morning sun, and then dance under the moon.

Joah Brown Half Moon Tank. The clothing from this line might be the softest fabric I’ve ever experienced, and once you try one piece, it will be the staple of your closet. The clever structure of this Half Moon tank is breathable and flattering (see the cool back above left). I’m going to throw a good yoga bra on underneath and be ready for practice, then take this little tank out on the town.

Teeki Seven Crowns Bellbottoms. Take me out to dance under the moon, careen through the woods with a willow wand, or get deep in my practice with these dramatic and gorgeous pants. Teeki apparel is made from recycled plastic bottles, so this choice is greener than green.

Takara Halfmoon Necklace. This jeweler straight off the coast of Marin takes handmade silk peace thread from India, dips it in natural dyes, and hammers brass around it into the most beautiful shapes. Think of her halfmoon necklace as a symbol of of waxing moons for attracting positivity, and waning moons for forgiveness and letting go. That’s a mantra to get behind: Attract + Forgive.

Joah Brown styles are available at all locations. Other styles available at Namaste Berkeley, 2820 7th Street, Berkeley CA.

Helene Cotton is Namaste’s creative director and retail buyer. Swing by her office at the Berkeley studio and she will happily style you for your next big thang.

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Pair Your Practice with the Perfect Tea

Most yogis know yoga and tea are two peas in a pod. The practice of preparing tea dates back for thousands of years and has been used to cure ailments, cultivate community and provide deep moments of mindfulness.  Once you warm up your knowledge around teas you will quickly realize how each variety can provide unique healing properties. If you’re looking for a way to anchor your practice with a tea ritual then read on to find out which teas are the best fit for your practice.


Vinyasa Flow and Black Tea

Black Tea and Vinyasa Flow

Fine black tea is the perfect match for a sweaty, powerful vinyasa flow class. Vinyasa is a term used to describe moving continuously through a sequence of poses. Often Vinyasa classes tend to reflect this in the way students move quickly from one pose, or asana, to the next with very few breaks.

Caffeinated tea is perfect for keeping energy up. It has a compliment component, Theanine, which has been attributed to increasing GABA, lowering stress and taking the jagged edge off caffeine that you normally get with coffee or energy supplements.

Research also shows black tea is responsible for improved circulation and respiratory function without putting stress on the heart.  A great black tea to try is this Apricot Tea by Far Leaves Tea. The lightweight, sweet taste of apricots and Ceylon tea make for a perfect iced beverage this summer.

Mint Tea and Summer Practice 

We know it can be hard to practice in the blazing summer heat. Try a sequence that uses cooling breath work and less challenging poses matched with a mildly stimulating, cooling mint green tea.

Green tea is famous for its endless health benefits, one of which is helping tap into fatty acids for energy use, prolonging your endurance and resiliency in hot weather. Mentholated peppermint works to alert your body’s cold-sensitivity leaving you refreshed and grounded.

An awesome tea blend to stimulate and cool your practice down with is Moroccan Mint Tea served with a slight amount of organic cane sugar.

Brain Boosting Blend and Meditation

What goes better with tea than a healthy meditation practice? The process of making tea alone can be a mindfulness exercise but if you’re looking for a longer journey then consider a very slightly caffeinated, herbal blend. The caffeine will help to keep you alert while the blends of special herbs ground, open and support you as you tap into your inner being.

Simply brew, sit comfortably, set a timer and close your eyes for 10 to 20 minutes.Our favorite is this Mind Focus Tea filled with gently stimulating herbs, roots, legumes, and tea from around the world. Interested in a non-caffeinated option? Try this Herbal Chai Tea with flavors of ginger, pepper and cinnamon.

Relaxing Herbal Tea and Restorative Yoga

If you’ve ever felt challenged to chill during restorative yoga consider drinking some mellow herbal blends before class. Restorative yoga is class entirely dedicated to relaxation and gentle movements

Tea blends that include plants like chamomile, lavender, ginger and valerian root work magic on the mind and help relax the body without drowsiness. Research has shown one flavonoid in chamomile, apigenin, binds to the benzodiazepine receptors in the brain, causing a relaxant effect similar to prescriptions like Xanax – but without any nasty side effects.

Our go-to restorative tea is this beautiful Rest Well Organic Blend which is a sure fire way to mellow your mood.


Interested in learning more about our favorite tea house, Far Leaves Tea? Check them out!

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This post is in partnership witlogo-inverted

 

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7 Perks of Working at a Yoga Studio

Not everyone is satisfied working in a restaurant or boutique. If you’re someone who values health and fitness, the clean scent of tea tree oil and a warm cup of tea – working at a yoga studio may be a great fit for you. At a yoga studio you have the honor of holding space for students as they practice. If you’re worried you don’t know enough about yoga, don’t sweat. One of the perks of joining a team of yogis is that acceptance is part of the job!

Free Yoga and Wellness Perks

What’s better than taking a yoga lunch break? The best perk of working at a yoga studio is the free yoga. Stay in shape and learn how to put self-care first with a job that emphasizes health and wellness. Most studios even offer employee discounts for bodywork, workshops and teacher trainings. Namaste Yoga + Wellness, for example, hosts monthly massage externs from NHI who offer complimentary massage to staff!

Friendly Faces

Unlike boutique or restaurant jobs where staff may only interact with patrons a few times a month, yoga studio employees build rich relationships with students. You will see the same smiling faces weekly (even daily!). Students will often learn staff’s names and rely on them as they would a friend to help choose classes, workshops and events that make sense for them.

Comfortable Work Attire

It’s no joke that wearing yoga clothes daily helps lower stress. Imagine the bliss of being able to throw on some yoga pants or comfy clothes and cruise to work. While keeping up an appearance is still part of the job – you can definitely say buh-bye to stiff pant suits or stuffy server’s outfits. Another perk? Many studios offer employee discounts ranging from 20%-40% off apparel and gear sold in studio boutiques.

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Being a Part of a Community

A job is just a job until you find an emotional connection. Yoga communities are known for their openness and warmth. Helping guide new students on their health journey makes you an integral part of their experience. Developing relationships with people in the studio makes you a part of the bigger yoga community as a whole – something that stays with you even when you’re clocked out.

Launching Your Teaching Career

If you’re interested in becoming a yoga instructor then working at a yoga studio is the perfect fit. Many yoga studio employees take on a position in order to get to know the in’s-and-out’s of the business. Being on the team can help you to understand how subbing works, what type of students you want to teach and give you access to discounted trainings.

Networking and Learning About Health and Wellness Industry

You may not be interested in becoming a yoga teacher but that doesn’t mean you’re ruling out all possibilities. The increase of interest in the health and fitness industry has created a boom in new job opportunities. Starting your career off at a yoga studio can expose you to all available avenues in the industry – from operations and management to marketing and sales.

Being Part of a Small Business

Jobs that pigeon hole you can be a drag. Working for a small business creates endless opportunities to break out of the box with creative solutions and ideas. Often you will be asked to wear many hats in a small business which will help you build your skill set and know what it takes to run your own company one day! Bonus, you often get to see the tangible results of the hard work you put in.

 

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Interested in working for Namaste? We are currently hiring! Send us your resume and cover letter to begin the journey of joining our Namaste community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Style Drishti: Unfold to the Positive

Style Drishti

A weekly feature from our boutiques

This week in the Bay we’re feeling the weight of the world. We’re hungry for positive fortunes to unfold, and looking for cozy layers in moments of transition to the world outside. If you’re looking for comfort here are my faves from the shop to infuse your everyday with some protection.

Wolf Child‘s Fortunes Told Tee. This dark and dreamy illustrated line of tees out of Portland fills me with hope. It’s a little art, a little devotion, a little darkness, and a little love all mixed up together. Throw it on and feel it all.

Nomad’s Hempwear Thrive Hoodie. There’s only one hoodie left in this fabulous color, so hurry if you are falling in love with it! But there’s plenty more to delight in from this line of sustainable wear out of Canada. They will take you from on the mat to off with no fuss at all. And you can feel good about your choice to practice in any of their hemp, bamboo, or organic cotton blends.

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Silver & Sage Labradorite and Apatite Mala. These strands of 108 beads are traditionally used in meditation as an aid for focus. Each bead represents a prayer or intention. Silver & Sage malas are made with stones and minerals that all carry meanings and qualities of protection or inspiration. Bring yourself a sense of peace and grounding with one of their special pieces of spiritual jewelry.

 

 

Good Hyouman Beanie. Go on, it’s summer but you know you just want to snuggle into that hat (when you go to the grey coast). Plus, it’s a good reminder to be “grateful” and “thankful.” We all need that right now.

Apparel styles available at Namaste Berkeley, 2820 7th Street, Berkeley CA. Silver & Sage available at Namaste Rockridge, 5416 College Ave, Oakland CA.

 

 

 

HeleneHelene Cotton is Namaste’s creative director and retail buyer. Swing by her office at the Berkeley studio and she will happily take you on a tour of our boutiques and show you what you should buy.

 

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